Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

100 Years of Tarzan

posted by Nell Minow

The Washington Post has a wonderful tribute to Tarzan in honor of the 100th anniversary of first Tarzan story by Edgar Rice Burroughs, with a fascinating gallery of portrayals of this now-iconic character.  Burroughs had no special calling to be a writer.  According to Neely Tucker’s story in the Post, after a series of unsuccessful jobs,

Advertisement

Burroughs was suddenly in his mid-30s and pawning his wife’s jewelry for cash.

And then — there’s always a “and then” in these kinds of stories — he was reading a pulp magazine, checking to see whether his company’s ads were correctly placed. He thought the magazine’s stories were so lousy that even he could write better.

So he sat down and wrote a science-fiction piece, “Under the Moons of Mars,” and sold it to All-Story. (Today, you know this tale as “John Carter,” the Disney film from earlier this year.)

He sold it for $400, roughly the modern equivalent of $9,300. This got his attention.

Advertisement

“I was not writing because of any urge to write nor for any particular love of writing. I was writing because I had a wife and two babies,” he later told an interviewer. “I loathed poverty and I would have liked to put my hands on the party who said that poverty is an honorable estate.”

The character of Tarzan was an instant sensation, and Burroughs was a good enough businessman that he not only copyrighted his stories, but he trademarked the character.  Copyrights expire, but trademarks do not.  Burroughs wrote two dozen Tarzan books but the character is best known for its many popular movie and television versions, from Elmo Lincoln’s portrayal in the silent era to an animated Disney feature film with music by Phil Collins.

Advertisement

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

My favorite is still the classic with swimming champion Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan.

YouTube Preview Image

Burroughs’ version of Tarzan was highly educated (he had the books left behind by his late parents and was able to speak many languages).  But what makes the character so enduringly appealing over a century is the idea of him as completely isolated from civilization, raised in the jungle, and giving us a chance to consider the deepest questions about what makes us human at the same time as we have the pleasure of imaging ourselves, like Tarzan, Jane, Boy, and Cheetah, swinging through the trees.

 

Previous Posts

Movie Scenes in Grocery Stores -- Featuring Macaulay Culkin, Michael Keaton, Natalie Portman, Steve Martin, Ryan Gosling, and More
Check out Slate's compilation of movie scenes set in grocery stores.  It has a lot of my favorites, but leaves out this classic with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, from the fact-based "Yours, Mine, and ...

posted 8:00:01am Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Ebertfest 2015, Part 2
It was a great honor to be included on today's panel of movie critics, along with superstars Godfrey Cheshire, Scott Foundas, Matt Zoller Seitz, Rebecca Theodore Vachon, Richard Roeper, Susan Wloszczyna, Michael Phillips, Brian Tallarico, and ...

posted 8:36:52pm Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

GI Film Festival -- Coming to DC May 19-24
I was very lucky to be able to attend a preview of the upcoming 9th annual GI Film Festival, coming to Washington, D.C. and Fairfax, Virginia May 19-24, 2015.  Brandon Millett and Laura Law-Millett started the festival, the first ever devoted ...

posted 3:40:40pm Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer -- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngElkyQ6Rhs[/youtube] ...

posted 8:11:36am Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

Mad Men Fan Cuts
As "Mad Men" is coming to a close, the fans who have found its depth and insights enthralling are creating their own versions of their favorite scenes, and you can watch them online.  Take a look and post your own! [iframe width="560" ...

posted 8:00:05am Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.